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on May 21, 2001
This is a great book about diving the Andrea Doria dealing mostly with the deaths that have occured and how they happened. If you have been around this type of diving for awhile you will recognize most of the people mentioned and quoted (Billy Deans, John Chatterton, Gary Gentile and so on). The deaths and the events leading up to them are described in graphic detail including several photos of the dead divers being recovered. Kevin McMurray goes into great detail in terms of analyzing the accidents including what boat they were diving on, who they were diving with, type of gas being used, type of equipment, the dive plan and such. No attempt was made to sugar coat the tragic events, just the hard details and facts with enough background information on each diver to help you better understand the complete picture.
This book was definetly not written for or about recreational diving. No single tank air dives on pretty tropical reefs and 82 degree water. This book is about hard core wreck divers pushing the limits in deep cold water with poor vis and strong currents.
If you enjoyed 'Last Dive' then you will surely like this book. I know that I couldn't put the book down.
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on September 5, 2001
Kevin McMurray gives readers a glimpse into the real-life adventures of divers who brave the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic to visit the wreck of the Andrea Doria. The author's research is sound, the information he presents on the physiology of hyperbaric medicine and technical diving techniques is accurate, and his portraits of the men and women whose lives and work are most identified with Doria diving seem fair and unbiased.
Comparisons between Deep Descent and Bernie Chowdhury's recent book The Last Dive are inevitable, since both cover the experiences of people who have lost their lives diving deep wrecks. In my opinion, McMurray's book is the more readable and his coverage of the technology associated with the sport are presented in a more organized (and less repetitive) way. Not that Chowdhury's book isn't good--simply keep in mind that reviewers who like it better than Deep Descent are expressing an opinion, not a truth.
Yes, there are several textual errors in McMurray's book that should have been noticed by the copy editor, but they are few in number and don't detract from the overall story. I thoroughly enjoy each book written by Doria pioneer Gary Gentile, despite the copy errors (in fact, I recommend Gentile's Andrea Doria: Dive to an Era for some truly gripping accounts of the author's own dives into the bowels of the great liner).
I can recommend Deep Descent without hesitation to every diver who has, or wants to, dive any shipwreck at any depth at any time. Sadly, some of the most valuable lessons for technical divers are learned by examining the fatal mistakes made by others.
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on December 5, 2013
Deep Descent is a book aimed squarely at divers eager to read more about the glory days of diving the liner Andrea Dorea, and as such it presents the reader with a mixed bag. This starts with the format of the book, which is half memoir and half journalistic. As Kevin McMurray himself admits in the book, while he likes diving he is not a devoted wreck diver. He only visited the Andrea Dorea a couple of times while on assignment and never penetrated the interior of the vessel. While he can claim to have been there and done that, he lacks the personal experience to write a full-length memoir about diving and exploring the Dorea on air. Instead, McMurry fills in the gaps between his own visits with the ably recounted tales of others who were major personalities in the “Golden Age” of diving the Dorea.

The result is a book by a capable storyteller, but one that lacks direction. On the one hand, McMurray has the necessary experience to frame the underwater experiences of divers on the extremely hazardous undertaking of visiting a deep, dangerous wreck on air. Also, McMurray was not a major player in any of the New York-New Jersey diving factions that continue to bitterly argue over who-did-what to this very day. Deep Descent is therefore not poisoned by bad writing or partisan axe-grinding.

However, the book lacks the cohesion that makes for a gripping narrative. Deep Descent reads like Simon and Schuster asked for a book about diving the Dorea on short order, and McMurray implies as much when he writes about being asked to create Deep Descent. It is both and neither the story of diving the Dorea on air nor the memoir of a Dorea diver, and reads more like an anthology of individual articles about the Golden Age of diving the Dorea than a proper narrative of the period.

Deep Descent is better written than a lot of books out there about diving the Andrea Dorea, but at the end it leaves the reader thirsting for an even better book on the same subject.
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on August 6, 2001
I found Deep Descent to be good reading, albeit weaker technically than it should have been. The author states he has many years of experience, but the reality is, he has one year of experience, many times. He was NOT a very advanced diver, rather a diver with novice experiences, over many years. One picture in the book has a caption that explains we are looking at the data on a dive computer. Actually, it's not a computer, but a bottom timer. Apparently a minor distinction, but not to a true technical diver. Chowdhury's book is far better technically, in addition to being great reading. I can recommend Deep Descent, but I can't rave about it. Read it, but don't expect to be glued to it like you were to The Last Dive.
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on April 29, 2014
Takes you back to the sinking of the Andrea Dorian and moves you through the people diving on her wreck. How dangerous and dark the wreck is and how fast the Dorian and the Deep can take a life. The Dorian has taken many, from her initial sinking to the divers visiting her in the deep. The book covers the sinking, the divers, the china fever that kills, and the divers that are drawn to the Dorian and successfully dive her depths.
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on January 8, 2014
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on October 10, 2005
I agree with several of the other reviewers with regard to the page-turning quality of this book. A fascinating, deadly, frightening, solemn, lesson-worthy book about scuba diving, its dangers and appeal. I am a scuba diver who is extremely conservative and would never dream of diving to the depth these people had to dive to bring up china and other artifacts from the sunken Andrea Doria. I am in awe of the bravery and expertise that it takes to do such a deep and complicated wreck dive, but I was also very well warned that, even the best divers, with hundreds of dives to their credit, ended up dead diving this wreck. The Andrea Doria has captured the imagination of many divers. It was heartbreaking and frightening to see how quickly good, practised divers lost their lives in their pursuit of "knicknacks". This book is a warning to all divers, and a can't-put-down read for everyone.
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on April 10, 2013
This was an interesting and entertaining book to read. Definitely puts the fear of deep diving into you. It adds to the details and provides a good picture of the Northeastern shipwreck diving community in the 80s and 90s. This is not a tech manual or anything, just an author's accounts of diving the Doria and of those he dove with.
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on November 20, 2013
This book is all over the place. I wanted to really like it, but it fell short. If you just can't get enough reading on Wreck Diving/Deep Diving or the Andrea Doria, then this will suffice. However, if you'd like a couple of really great reads in the Genre. I would suggest Shadow Divers, and The Last Dive. Just one opinion.
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on January 1, 2006
This book is most definitely required reading for divers at any level, but especially those who dive wrecks. It's been said that the Andrea Doria is the Mt. Everest for divers in terms of sheer difficulty and, based on the narratives in this book, I'm inclined to agree.
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